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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Epilepsy drugs make Alzheimer's and dementia more likely
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Epilepsy drugs make Alzheimer's and dementia more likely image

Powerful anti-epilepsy drugs never seem to be out of the news—and now researchers have discovered they increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The anti-epileptics that impair cognitive function also raise the risk for dementia by 60 per cent and Alzheimer's by 20 per cent—and the risk can be even higher if the regular dose of the drug is greater, say researchers from the University of East Finland.

The risk becomes apparent one year into taking an anti-epileptic, the researchers discovered after they analysed two different sets of data, including 70,718 Alzheimer's patients in Finland and 20,325 dementia sufferers in Germany. The risk is linked only to the anti-epileptics that affect cognitive functions, the researchers stress, although they think more research needs to be carried out into the entire family of the drugs.

The anti-epileptics aren't used only for epilepsy; they are also prescribed for neuropathic pain, bipolar disorder and anxiety.


References

(Source: Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 2018; doi: 10.1111/jgs.15358)

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